Aug. 24 (UPI) — Just days after the United States tested a Tomahawk cruise missile with a 310-mile range, Russian President Vladimir Putin directed his military to pursue similar missile programs.
Putin also called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the matter.
The U.S. missile test, conducted in California, would have been banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty. The United States and Russia abandoned the INF treaty Aug. 2 with both sides blaming the other for developing missiles that violated it.
Russian Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanski criticized U.S. “hypocrisy” saying Washington “consistently and deliberately violated the INF Treaty for some time” and this latest test proves it.
Putin addressed the timing in his speech Friday.
“It’s obvious that this test was not an improvisation, but the next link in a chain of events which were planned out and carried out earlier,” Putin said.
Putin ordered the Defense Ministry to “study the level of threat posed by these U.S. actions and take exhaustive measures to prepare a symmetrical response.”
Putin said he is not interested in a repeat of the 1980s arms race. Russia ranks 7th in the world in defense spending behind the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, France and Japan, Putin said.
“Russia is still open for an equitable and constructive dialogue with the United States of America for restoring trust and strengthening international security,” Putin said.
President Donald Trump has demanded his own explanation for mysterious missile explosions that killed five Russian nuclear engineers. It’s believe the missiles use nuclear propulsion.